37 min

The Pivot Series, Part 1: Embracing The Unknown with Colleen Johnson Product Thinking

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Melissa Perri welcomes Colleen Johnson to the first episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. Colleen is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of ScatterSpoke, a company that leverages AI to make the most out of retrospective feedback. Colleen tells Melissa how their company needed to pivot quickly to win against competitors, how she had to shift from being a subject matter expert to embracing uncertainty and curiosity, her version of a valuable MVP, and which retro data she finds to be the most valuable. 

Here are some key points you'll hear Melissa and Colleen discuss: 

Colleen talks about her professional background, what led her to found ScatterSpoke, and what services they provide. [4:31]

During the pandemic, when Scatterspoke lost clients to major competitors, they had to determine what made them stand out from other companies who provided the same retrospective services – the answer was a large quantity of retro data. [6:11]

Colleen advises listeners to approach change with an open mindset and to be a little bit more cautious. [8:56]

A friendly invite via their in-person professional network or even a cold outreach on LinkedIn can help a product manager launch a new product, connect with engineer leaders to provide them with data, test products, and offer feedback. [12:01]

In coaching teams and helping organizations adopt agile practices, most people tend to focus on delivery rather than breaking down the work. If you do not break down the work in a way that allows you to iterate and get feedback quickly, the whole pivot process has no benefit. [14:38]

The most valuable part of presenting small chunks to engineer leaders and customers is what you learn from their responses, positive or negative. [16:12]

To have a successful retro tool, the teams using it - rather than scrum masters and engineer managers - must see its value to their process. [19:46]

Engineering managers and product leaders need to understand that retrospectives are important because they help pinpoint issues in the organization. [20:11]

As a person working in product and product management, Colleen says that you have to “remove yourself from the subject matter expert seat”. You have to be curious and willing to learn and understand that you are venturing into waters beyond your scope of knowledge with this new transition. [26:45]


Resources 
Colleen Johnson | LinkedIn | Twitter
ScatterSpoke | Twitter | Instagram

Melissa Perri welcomes Colleen Johnson to the first episode of this four-part miniseries about companies that successfully made major pivots during the pandemic. Colleen is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of ScatterSpoke, a company that leverages AI to make the most out of retrospective feedback. Colleen tells Melissa how their company needed to pivot quickly to win against competitors, how she had to shift from being a subject matter expert to embracing uncertainty and curiosity, her version of a valuable MVP, and which retro data she finds to be the most valuable. 

Here are some key points you'll hear Melissa and Colleen discuss: 

Colleen talks about her professional background, what led her to found ScatterSpoke, and what services they provide. [4:31]

During the pandemic, when Scatterspoke lost clients to major competitors, they had to determine what made them stand out from other companies who provided the same retrospective services – the answer was a large quantity of retro data. [6:11]

Colleen advises listeners to approach change with an open mindset and to be a little bit more cautious. [8:56]

A friendly invite via their in-person professional network or even a cold outreach on LinkedIn can help a product manager launch a new product, connect with engineer leaders to provide them with data, test products, and offer feedback. [12:01]

In coaching teams and helping organizations adopt agile practices, most people tend to focus on delivery rather than breaking down the work. If you do not break down the work in a way that allows you to iterate and get feedback quickly, the whole pivot process has no benefit. [14:38]

The most valuable part of presenting small chunks to engineer leaders and customers is what you learn from their responses, positive or negative. [16:12]

To have a successful retro tool, the teams using it - rather than scrum masters and engineer managers - must see its value to their process. [19:46]

Engineering managers and product leaders need to understand that retrospectives are important because they help pinpoint issues in the organization. [20:11]

As a person working in product and product management, Colleen says that you have to “remove yourself from the subject matter expert seat”. You have to be curious and willing to learn and understand that you are venturing into waters beyond your scope of knowledge with this new transition. [26:45]


Resources 
Colleen Johnson | LinkedIn | Twitter
ScatterSpoke | Twitter | Instagram

37 min